Throcky Gets Physical was a physics musical written and produced by Mr. Tapper's Block 4 Physics AP class at Morristown High School, NJ. Its one and only showing occurred on April 29th, 2002 in the high school auditorium.
Throcky was a character who appeared often in our physics textbook as "your annoying cousin Throckmorton", who was always swinging on a swing demonstrating pendular motion or trying to balance on a see-saw or something of the sort. We took his name and wrote a story about a teenage Throcky and his romantic problems. Throcky is a loser who doesn't care about school, while his girlfriend Roxy loves physics. She can't accept Throcky's attitude towards her favorite subject, and she leaves him for Darius, who knows physics. (Darius also happens to wear a purple hat and a boa, because we were lampooning a certain metrosexual who cared too much about grades.) Throcky has to learn physics in time for the prom so that he can win Roxy back and take her to the dance. Fortunately, he has help from many peculiar characters, including 3 physicists, from the past, present and future (like A Christmas Carol), the Vector Gang, and a white rabbit with a skateboard and an Australian accent. Can he surpass Darius's physics knowledge and win back Roxy? Does the audience discover that physics doesn't suck? Watch and find out!
The origins of the musical were not quite as bizarre as you might think. Every year everyone in our AP class had to do a final project. Mr. Tapper said to us, "You can work with as many people as you like, but you have to remember that the more people you work with, the more I expect from you. You could even have the whole class work on a project, but then I'd expect a physics musical, with lights, music, and dancing." We took him literally.
At first, nobody believed that it was really happening. The students realized that it was really happening was when we had our first meeting at Andrea's house down the street, and we brainstormed ideas for a script. Mr. Tapper realized it was really happening when he saw us practicing one of our dances in the hallway during a break.
There was no dress rehearsal for the play. In fact, the night of the performance was the first time we had ever run the play all the way through. People had learned their lines on their own (well, most of them learned their lines), and people had practiced scenes with one another, but that was the first time we put it all together. The result was hilarious in some spots and really boring in others.
Some scenes are composed entirely of inside jokes, which are not actually funny for anyone who does not know the parties involved. We tried to make fun of the other Physics AP class, which we had a semi-friendly rivalry with. We also caricatured Mr. Tapper's mannerisms and eccentricities. The first scene in the classroom is merely a vehicle for these jokes, and can be safely skipped by outsiders (fast-forward until we run off with our chairs). That scene is followed by a large stretch of "cricket noises", while Roxy fails to get her body mike on backstage. This was the first failed transition, but it was not the last... some are more entertaining than others. Once the breakup scene with Roxy actually begins (around 00:07:40), the play starts to increase in entertainment value, if not quality. I should probably make a "highlights" version someday. We also had a problem with the long, boring scenes where we actually try to explain physics problems, with varying levels of success. If we break out the pad with physics equations on it, it's often safe to skip ahead.
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